Penrith-born racing driver Frank Bird was in scintillating form once again as he took a comprehensive victory ontoday’s Rainworth Skoda Dukeries Rally held at Donington Park.
The event formed the opening round of the COVID-19 delayed 2020/2021 Motorsport News Circuit Rally Championship with MSVR whereby the 21-year-old Cumbrian, along with Hexham co-driver Jack Morton, won every stage to emerge 35 seconds clear of their nearest rivals.
In the Dom Buckley Motorsport-prepared Ford Focus WRC07, with backing from VisionTrack, Yuasa, Frank Bird Poultry, Hager, Mac Tools, Fuchs Silkolene, ELAS and PBM, Frank was joint fastest on the opening stage before pulling out a narrow one second advantage on SS2.
He increased the lead to 13 seconds on SS3 before adding another two seconds on the following stage. Frank stopped theclocks some 13 seconds ahead of his nearest rival on the penultimate stage to lead by 28 seconds where he rammed home his advantage to win SS6 by seven seconds.
The rally victory is the latest for Bird, who had a successful season in European GT racing for Bentley this season also, as it was his seventh straight victory in the last eight rallies he has contested which is a remarkable record. His last outing was in August when he won the M-Sport Stages Rally based in his native Greystoke Forest and prior to that was at Donington Park in March when he won the LDV Donington Park Rally.
Frank Bird: “It’s been a fantastic day. I took it easy in the morning as I wanted to find out what the conditions were like but once I knew where the grip was, it allowed me to attack a little. We had a good run and just kept building our lead and, in the end, we had a nice little gap. It’s strange as it’s a good way to end the calendar year yet this is the first round of this championship. I need to finalise my race testing plans over winter so that will dictate what future rounds of the rally series I can contest but this is a good start. Thanks to Jack for another superb job, and to the team also as well as my dad and our important sponsors.”
Pictures courtesy of James Ward, Chicane Media Photography (www.chicanemedia.co.uk)